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LunchUP: Alex Thomas, "Same needs, More Opportunities - A neighborhood's challenge, a University’s charge"

LunchUP: Alex Thomas, "Same needs, More Opportunities - A neighborhood's challenge, a University’s charge"

Presenter: Alex Thomas, Advisor to The New West Willow Neighborhood Association

West Willow, with approximately 1200 homes, is the largest neighborhood in Ypsilanti Township.  It’s located in Washtenaw County near the border with Wayne County, just 12 miles east of the University’s Central Campus.  The neighborhood was founded in the 1940’s to house workers from the adjacent B-24 Bomber plant which famously churned out “a Bomber an hour” as part of the “arsenal of democracy” during World War II.   Following the war, two automobile factories occupied the site for many years and served as the backbone of a vibrant community and economy.  Both factories closed in 1992 and 2010 respectively. 

The subsequent economic decline has battered the resilient community and researchers have studied this process over the years.   In 2014 the school of Urban Planning studied the neighborhood which culminated in: Needs and Opportunities Strategies for the West Willow neighborhood. 

Alex Thomas’s talk, Same needs, More Opportunities- A Neighborhood’s Challenge A University’s charge, is a report on the follow up to that work and an appeal for the School of Urban Planning and the University as whole to do research that will have an obvious practical impact.

Lunch is provided. Please bring a drink.

These sessions are a response to requests from faculty and students to learn more about what’s going on in the field in an informal environment. We hope this can inspire emergent thoughts and connections that will inform our scholarship.